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Delicious ways to fight food waste

How to fight food waste with Australian Macadamias

Did you know that we waste 7.6 million tonnes of food a year in Australia? That’s equal to nearly 300 kilograms of food waste per person and enough to fill the Melbourne Cricket Ground 10 times over1!

Food waste happens at every stage of producing and consuming food – and the most waste happens in homes, costing households about $50 a week or $2500 a year1

But food waste affects more than just our household budgets: it contributes to higher food costs overall, and has environmental impacts. When wasted food decomposes in landfills, it produces methane, a potent greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change. Plus, a lot of resources are wasted by producing, transporting and distributing food that’s meant for our plates but ends up in the bin. 

No one intends to waste food, but it’s definitely time to flip this script.

How to fight food waste (in the most delicious ways)
How to fight food waste (in the most delicious ways)

The biggest culprits 

The top five most wasted foods in Australian households are vegetables, bread, fruit, bagged salads, and leftovers2. About 20% of the food we buy ends up in the bin – which is equal to one in five bags of groceries we buy3. With food costs increasing, it makes more sense than ever to get smarter about the way we shop, store and cook our food. 

Just imagine if you could avoid a lot of that waste: you’d shrink your grocery bills, have fun creating tasty new meals from the odds and ends left in your fridge at the end of the week, all while doing your bit for the planet. That’s a win:win:win – and we’ve got lots of tips to make it easier – and rather delicious too! 

How to become part of the solution 

It all begins with a plan 

Even if you’re usually more of a ‘I wonder what’s for dinner tonight?’ person, taking stock of what you already have and then planning your meals for the week helps you to stick to buying only what you need:

  • Check what’s already in your pantry and fridge, making sure you look right to the back and in your crisper drawers, where food is often left to languish. 
  •  Move the ingredients that need to be used first to the front of your fridge and pantry, then take some ‘shelfies’ as a reminder. 
  • Plan what you’ll eat for the week based on what you still have in the fridge and pantry, what’s in season, what you enjoy eating, and your household schedule.
  • Write your shopping list.
  • Only buy what’s on your list – and remember not to go shopping when you’re hungry. 

Go for a fridge forage 

This is where the fun begins! 

Choose one day of the week where you’ll forage through the fridge and pantry to repurpose leftovers and use any wilting produce and foods close to their use-by date. 

Then add some macadamia magic 

When you have a stash of macadamias in your fridge or freezer, you’ll have an extra bit of magic to weave through or on top of your fridge forage meals. 

Macadamias instantly add:

  • crunch to leftovers that have a soft texture
  • valuable plant protein to elevate side dishes to main meal status
  • flavour when other ingredients in your fridge are past their prime. 
macadamia nuts are a great spring snack
Macadamia and fruit snack

Here are some of our favourite fridge forage + macadamia magic ideas:

Lots of veggies (cooked or raw)?

  • Try this frittata with a crunchy macadamia topping. Substitute any veggies that you need to use up for the sweet potato, and leave out the pancetta to keep it meat-free if you prefer.
  • Make a macadamia crumb and turn any waning veggies into your meal’s centrepiece: mushrooms, cabbage, cauliflower, pumpkin, sweet potato or broccoli can all take on star status treated this way. 
  • Simmer all those veggies at the back of your crisper drawer into a big pot of minestrone and swirl a spoonful of Sicilian macadamia and tomato pesto on top. 
  • If you have leftover cooked rice (or any grain for that matter), try our quick macadamia fried rice adding any finely chopped extra veg you need to use up. 

Limp lettuce?

  • Don’t toss that sad looking bagged salad mix! Give it a new lease of life by popping the contents in a bowl of iced water for around 15 minutes, drain, spin and then top them with your favourite macadamia salad dressing

Dry bread?

  • Do your future self a big favour by blitzing past-its-best bread into rough crumbs and popping them in the freezer, ready for any recipe that calls for breadcrumbs. 
  • Next time you need a quick casserole topping, schnitzel, or fresh fish coating, simply combine the frozen crumbs (no need to thaw) with finely chopped macadamias, a good pinch of salt, and half a teaspoon of smoked paprika. 
herb & garlic macadamia crumb with roasted cauliflower steaks
Herb & garlic macadamia crumb with roasted cauliflower steaks

Squishy fruit or brown bananas?

  • Smoothies are your new best friend! You’ll find plenty of macadamia smoothie recipes here and four fun ways to top them here
  • Discover the perfect marriage of banana and macadamias in these banana breads, cakes, muffins and more. 
Yemeni banana, bread and macadamia pudding
Yemeni banana, bread and macadamia pudding

Dry bread AND brown bananas?

You’re in luck! We’ve created the most delicious macadamia version of masoub – Yemeni banana and bread pudding, which you can enjoy as an indulgent breakfast, afternoon pick-me-up, or simple dessert. You’ll start deliberately letting your bread go stale and your bananas go brown for this one! 

This article was written for Australian Macadamias by Andrea Ball from The Green Gourmet, a wholefoods educator who helps people rediscover the natural connection between food, health and joy. Find out more at and @thegreengourmetco


1.     Food Waste and hunger facts. OzHarvest. (2023, October 26). 

2.     Australia’s most wasted foods and how to keep them out of the bin. Planet Ark. (2023, November 23). 

3.     Fight food waste: The problem – global, National & Home. OzHarvest. (2022, August 2).

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